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Python obfuscation

Are there any commercial, or otherwise obfuscators for python source
code or byte code and what are their relative advantages or
disadvantages. I wonder because there are some byte code protection
available for java and .NET, although from what i've read these seem to
be not comprehensive as protection schemes



http://petantik.blogsome.com - Telling it like it is

Nov 9 '05
159 12022
Yu-Xi Lim <yu**@ece.gatech.edu> wrote:
I hadn't seen any damage done from misusing "it's". Certainly not on par


You should see my pharmacy bill for Maalox... and my liver ain't too
happy about it either;-)
Alex
Nov 22 '05 #51
Paul Rubin <http://ph****@NOSPAM.invalid> wrote:
"The Eternal Squire" <et***********@comcast.net> writes:
Without copyright, how could one possibly earn a living writing a
novel?


This guy seems to be doing ok: http://craphound.com
His publishers are the only ones allowed to sell his novels commercially,
but you can download them all and print them out noncommercially for
your own personal enjoyment or to share with your friends. No obfuscation
is needed.


One might also quip (not truthfully in Cory's specific case, I hasten to
add!-) that many of today's novels are intrinsically obfuscated enough
to need no further technological help on that front;-).

Quips aside, the question is a sensible one to ask -- not as a
rhetorical question, as TES apparently intended, of course, and not just
about novels (many different creative endeavours may require different
answers). The "novel" as a specific literary form is not that old, just
a few centuries, but the issues were not very different for many other
literary forms over the ages and cultures, and many different answers
have been given or attempted.

For example, Virgil was writing poems (epic and otherwise), not novels,
but that's not very relevant to the question of how he made a living;
the classic solution, in his case, was to find rich patrons willing to
pay him to do so. Of course, there are obvious problems with this
model... for example, Virgil was paid to write the Aeneid because his
patrons liked its patriotism (as well as its towering artistic
qualities), but a work with equally good art but an anti-patriotic
ideology would have been much harder to monetize at that time (and also
risked landing the author in the soup, as Ovid found out, but that's
another issue, quite unrelated to monetization).

Zooming forwards a couple of millennia, we see the model of
"serialization" -- having the novel published in periodic installments
by a magazine. Avid readers, we're told, crowded the piers of New York
waiting for ship to land which carried the magazine with the latest
installment of some Dickens novel -- and Dumas and Sue, in France, had
fully comparable success in similar ways. At that time, copyright
existed, in theory, but practically wasn't very well enforced (most
particularly, I believe, in the USA, where the probability of a British
publisher of actually enforcing a copyright was laughably low...) --
nevertheless, the reasonable cheapness of magazines coupled with the
readers' urgency for the next installment let these authors earn a
comfortable living anyway. Here, the problem is presumably that you
need VERY popular novels for this to work -- but then, a tiny fraction
of novelists actually make a comfortable living from just their novels,
even with today's monetization approaches.

Modern equivalent of serialization (publishing one chapter at a time on
the web, the next chapter to come only if the author receives enough
payment for the previous one) have been attempted, but without much
success so far; however, the holy grail of "micropayments" might yet
afford a rebirth for such a model -- if paying for a chapter was
extremely convenient and cheap, enough people might choose to do so
rather than risk the next chapter never appearing. Remember that, by
totally disintermediating publishers and bookstores, a novelist may
require maybe 1/10th of what the book would need to gross in stores, in
order to end up with the same amount of cash in his or her pockets.

One could go on for a long time, but the key point is that there may or
may not exist viable monetization models for all sorts of endeavours,
including the writing of novels, depending on a lot of other issues of
social as well as legal structures. Let's not be blinded by one model
that has worked sort of decently for a small time in certain sets of
conditions, into believing that model is the only workable one today or
tomorrow, with conditions that may be in fact very different.
Alex
Nov 22 '05 #52
Paul Rubin <http://ph****@NOSPAM.invalid> writes:
"The Eternal Squire" <et***********@comcast.net> writes:
Without copyright, how could one possibly earn a living writing a
novel?

This guy seems to be doing ok: http://craphound.com
His publishers are the only ones allowed to sell his novels commercially,
but you can download them all and print them out noncommercially for
your own personal enjoyment or to share with your friends. No obfuscation
is needed.


Not really a good counterexample, because "His publishers are the only
ones allowed to sell his novels commercially" is only possible because
of copyright. Without that, anyone could take the downloadable copy of
his novels and start competing with his publishers - presumably with
lower overhead, because they didn't have to pay Cory.

Asking about novels is an excellent question - it's one of the few
forms of copyrightable material where it's not the final end product
and you have to give the public access to the media for them to use
it. If either one of those isn't true, you can probably find a
business model that doesn't depend on copyright.

<mike
--
Mike Meyer <mw*@mired.org> http://www.mired.org/home/mwm/
Independent WWW/Perforce/FreeBSD/Unix consultant, email for more information.
Nov 22 '05 #53
On Sat, 12 Nov 2005 12:22:21 -0500, Mike Meyer wrote:
And if instead you lose one customer because you've denied them their
fair use rights, then your copy protection has lost you more in the
form of a cost that you overlooked than all the costs you actually
considered.
In a competitive marketplace, why would I choose to buy DRMed software if
there is a non-DRMed equivalent with the same functionality and equivalent
cost? DRM is both an extra cost and a lower functionality applied to the
software: an extra cost because if I can only run three simultaneous
instances when I want four, then I need to pay more; lower functionality
because things I may wish to do (like lock the original disk in the
fireproof safe and install off a backup copy) may be impossible.

If you are supplying to a non-competitive market, you may decide that you
don't mind losing some sales. In non-competitive markets, the pressure to
improve the ratio of functionality to cost is weak.

[snip]
Actually, obfuscation by itself has *no* benefit. If all you do is
obfuscate the code, none of the pirates will ever notice - they'll just
copy the code without ever trying to read it. It's the copy protection
mechanisms you're trying to obfuscate that gains you the alleged
benefit.
I don't think you mean copy protection, as in preventing copies -- it is
difficult for an application to prevent the OS from making physical
copies, and by difficult I mean "essentially impossible". Perhaps you mean
access control, for example the software will only run for three people
simultaneously.
Once you provide a copy protection mechanism, obfuscation has
some benefit, though the costs aren't clearly minimal, not if you're a
cometent engineer. It's the benefits of the copy protection that I claim
are insignificant.


That's not quite true -- there may be instances where there is a real or
perceived benefit from keeping the algorithms used secret: perhaps you
have found a more efficient way to do something, or perhaps you just want
to hide from your users just how bad your code really is, or perhaps
you've conned^H^H^H^H convinced them to pay a premium price for reduced
functionality and don't want them bypassing your access control mechanisms.

The problem is, developers often have a ridiculously over-inflated opinion
of the worth of their code, and the business people behind them even more
so. Everybody[1] thinks that their two-bit Visual Basic calculator app is
going to be the next Microsoft Windows and make them a fortune, but only
if they keep the source code secret. Because so much code is secret,
people fail to appreciate just how little innovation there really is in
the IT industry, and imagine that just because they personally sweated
blood for months writing the code, it must be valuable.

Anyway, I think this is all a storm in a teacup. With the possible
exception of game console software, I think the idea of shrink-wrapped
software generally and software licencing particularly is a temporary
aberration. In a decade, software obfuscation will only exist as a way for
hackers to prove how clever they are, as in the Obfuscated C Contest.
Until then, well, if you think you can a commercial advantage by annoying
your customers, knock yourselves out.

[1] By "everyone" I mean "lots of people who should know better".

--
Steven.

Nov 22 '05 #54
On Fri, 11 Nov 2005 23:22:45 -0800, The Eternal Squire wrote:
Without copyright, how could one possibly earn a living writing a
novel?
I don't know. How did William Shakespeare make a living from writing plays
and sonnets and poems? How did Sir Walter Scott make a living from writing
novels? How do chefs make a living from creating new recipes, and stand-up
comedians from telling jokes?

Perhaps there is no way to make a living from writing novels without
copyright. There is no way to make a living from playing solitaire either
-- should the government pass a law giving a legal monopoly on playing red
queen on a black king to my granny, so that everyone playing that move
has to pay her ten cents? That would make her old age so much more
comfortable. If you object to my proposal, I can ask "But without it, how
could one possibly make a living playing solitaire?"

Do we care if novelists can make a living writing novels? Most of them
don't anyway. The Stephen Kings, Tom Clancys and J.K. Rowlings are the
exception, not the rule -- for every Terry Pratchett who has "had to
change banks because [he] filled the first one up", there are a hundred
thousand who never make a living from writing at all.

If you've been involved in writing novels, you will know that the real
difference between an interesting idea and a great novel is usually a good
editor. A good editor does maybe a quarter or a third of the intellectual
labour of creating a novel -- not the grunt work of hitting typewriter
keys and putting ink to paper, but the brain work of making sure that the
story actually tells a story well. Why should the author get the monopoly
and the editor nothing? How do editors make money without a monopoly
granted by the government like copyright?

How do magazine and newspaper writers make a living when they don't get
the copyright on the things they write?

These are all important questions, and you will notice I deliberately am
not giving answers -- but they are also irrelevant because I didn't say
that I was against copyright. What I asked was why the artificial rights
of creators are given more importance than the natural rights of users.
And I submit that many ISD's are only a single person burning
with that one software idea of a lifetime, the equivalent of the Great
American Novel.
If their "one software idea of a lifetime" is as pointless, useless and
just *bad* as the average would-be "Great American Novel", then copyright
or no copyright nobody will want their poxy code. Sourceforge is full of
software projects, 90% of which go nowhere. The world is filled with
millions of wanna-be poets, writers and creators whose sum total
contribution to the artistic wealth of the world is negative.

I'm not just using hyperbole. By poisoning the well with their garbage,
they just make it that little bit harder for genuinely talented artists to
be heard. Only 2% of books sell more than 5,000 copies, ever, and many
wonderful books never get a second print-run because they just can't get
people's attention.

Despite this, people keep trying to write the Great American Novel.
Creative artists will create, even if they would be economically better
off washing dishes at Greasy Joe's Diner for a buck an hour. Michaelangelo
didn't stop painting because he had no copyright protection.

Are we to punish that impulse by denying that person
a legal monopoly on that idea?
Who's talking about *punishment*?

The natural state of things is not copyright. "No copyright" is not
punishing the author any more than "no flying unicorns" is punishing
little girls with a fantasy for flying through the sky on the back of a
horned horse. It is just the way things are.

Copyright is a gift granted by the government, not the natural state of
the world. When kings and emperors and presidents give commercial and
economic gifts, like monopolies, they rarely are for the benefit of the
majority.

Lots of ideas have no legal monopoly. There is no legal monopoly on (say)
good gardening skills, or the specific way of mixing the batter to make
extra light and fluffy bread. Why should some ideas be privileged over
others?

Lack of copyright doesn't need to be defended, as it is the natural state
of the world. Copyright is the special state which needs to be defended,
and there is precious little evidence that copyright makes sense
economically for *anyone*, author, publisher, readers or society as a
whole.

That's not to say that copyright isn't good for one or more of the above:
I have my intuitions as to who copyright benefits. But my point is that
there is a serious lack of evidence one way or the other, and what
evidence there is suggests strongly that over-strong copyright laws (like
we have now) are bad for *everyone*, and that weaker copyright (as in the
early 20th century) would be better.
I believe piracy is bad for everyone: the consumer, the writer, and
the country as a whole. I don't oppose copyleft, but then, I don't
oppose copyright either. Let's distribute the former for free, and
honor the need for the writer of the latter to earn a living.


Who mentioned copyleft? Copyleft is just a version of copyright: instead
of "All Rights Reserved", copyleft gives the user additional rights they
may not have got otherwise. Copyleft is not opposed to copyright, it _is_
copyright (despite the cute name).

In any case, piracy is demonstrably *not* bad for everyone. The entire US
movie industry would not exist if not for patent infringement: the baby
industry was being choked out of existence by the high royalties and
licence fees demanded by the holders of Thomas Edison's patents, until
they fled to California where enforcement was lax.

Likewise radio, which got its start from unauthorized transmission of
music, what we would call "piracy". The US government recognised that
"piracy = theft" was just propaganda, and legislated to give the radio
stations a compulsory licence rather than shut them down.

Likewise cable TV, which got its start from outright theft of transmitted
signals: in 1972 Jack Valenti of the MPAA testified to the American
Congress that the cable TV industry would destroy the movie industry
utter, and described cable TV as a parasite. Congress didn't swallow
it, and thirty years later both Hollywood and cable TV are thriving.

Having got it his first prediction that the sky is falling so badly wrong,
Valenti tried again ten years later, when he testified that the personal
home VCR would destroy the American movie industry -- he described it as
being to the American public and the movie industry as the Boston
Strangler was to women living alone. Instead, the VCR saved Hollywood
from collapse, with cheap direct-to-video movies now their
bread-and-butter, making up for all those big budget flops.

Going for three failures from three, now Valenti is campaigning against
peer-to-peer and the Internet.

Talking of outright theft, no discussion of monopoly rights is complete
without mentioning the record labels' habit of outright theft of ownership
from the artists who actually create music. It churns my stomach to see
thieves and con artists like the RIAA trying to take the moral high ground
with talk of "copying is theft".

Closer to home for the software industry, it is well recognised that
for software companies starting out, they get more benefit from
copyright infringement than they lose in revenue. Windows is the perfect,
if extreme, example: by turning a blind eye to piracy, Microsoft made sure
that anyone who wanted Windows could get it. That in turn meant that
programmers entering the workforce were already programming for Windows,
that businesses were demanding software that run under Windows, that
hardware manufacturers were supporting Windows.

Even today, Microsoft has a dilemma in China and South East Asia -- they
have a monopoly on Windows, but revenue is low because piracy rates are
extraordinarily high. But they don't dare get too strict on stamping out
piracy, because the last thing they want is to drive the billions of
actual or potential computer users of Asia to Linux -- Microsoft wants
hardware suppliers to support Windows first and Linux not at all or at
least as just an afterthought, not the other way around. Microsoft needs
software companies and consultants and programmers to work in the Windows
space, not Linux.

This means that, paradoxically, companies that work in the Linux space
actually want Microsoft to stamp down harder on piracy than Microsoft
wants to. We want more Ernie Balls:

http://www.osv.org.au/index.cgi?tid=91
As Microsoft knows, piracy is effectively giving your product away for
free. Can you think of any reason why you would want to give your product
away for free? Promotions, network effects, "the first sample is free",
driving your competitors out of business, try before you buy, software
which is paid for by advertising... there are many reasons why companies
might not just turn a blind eye to piracy but welcome it. The mistake is
to only think of piracy as lost revenue.

--
Steven.

Nov 22 '05 #55
Steven D'Aprano <st***@REMOVETHIScyber.com.au> wrote:
In a competitive marketplace, why would I choose to buy DRMed software if
there is a non-DRMed equivalent with the same functionality and equivalent
cost?


The only explanation I can think of is, their marketing must be
AWEsome!-)
Alex
Nov 22 '05 #56
>Perhaps there is no way to make a living from writing novels without
copyright. There is no way to make a living from playing solitaire either
-- should the government pass a law giving a legal monopoly on playing red
queen on a black king to my granny, so that everyone playing that move
has to pay her ten cents? That would make her old age so much more
comfortable. If you object to my proposal, I can ask "But without it, how
could one possibly make a living playing solitaire?"
Reductio de absurdum counterargument.

If their "one software idea of a lifetime" is as pointless, useless and
just *bad* as the average would-be "Great American Novel", then copyright
or no copyright nobody will want their poxy code. Sourceforge is full of
software projects, 90% of which go nowhere.
Thomas Edison (I think it was him) once said it took 999 failures to
make 1 success. That makes SourceForge 10 times more successful.
The world is filled with
millions of wanna-be poets, writers and creators whose sum total
contribution to the artistic wealth of the world is negative. I'm not just using hyperbole. By poisoning the well with their garbage,
they just make it that little bit harder for genuinely talented artists to
be heard.
Whose opinion? Yours, or the market's?
Despite this, people keep trying to write the Great American Novel.
Creative artists will create, even if they would be economically better
off washing dishes at Greasy Joe's Diner for a buck an hour. Michaelangelo
didn't stop painting because he had no copyright protection.
And so the only valid income for a creative type is psychic income?
The natural state of things is not copyright. "No copyright" is not
punishing the author any more than "no flying unicorns" is punishing
little girls with a fantasy for flying through the sky on the back of a
horned horse. It is just the way things are.
Nature can be cruel. Do we dare drink unpasteurized milk because
natural is always good? For millenia slavery and serfdom were
considered "natural", but it caused endless human misery. And what
about plumbing and flush toilets? Those are not natural means to
convey eliminated wastes, but having just that in a society increases
the life expectancy of all its members by at least 10%.

The purpose of humanity is to NOT accept the way the things are... but
to apply compassion in all situations which if unaided cause great pain
and suffering.
Copyright is a gift granted by the government, not the natural state of
the world. When kings and emperors and presidents give commercial and
economic gifts, like monopolies, they rarely are for the benefit of the
majority.
Last I knew, we had government by, for, and of the people. We give
these gifts to ourselves, our officials serve at our pleasure. I
believe we decided to choose to give ourselves the gift of copyright
because that way a creator can be rewarded for his efforts rather than
his hiers.
Lots of ideas have no legal monopoly. There is no legal monopoly on (say)
good gardening skills, or the specific way of mixing the batter to make
extra light and fluffy bread.
Reductio de absurdum counterargument again.
Why should some ideas be privileged over others?
This is a corallary of the idea that people have the right to pursue
happiness... which could basically mean either increased convience of
life, longer lifespan, or greater joy within. Any idea which
increases happiness in a society as a whole is more worthwhile than an
idea which does not. And the market decides which is which.
Lack of copyright doesn't need to be defended, as it is the natural state
of the world.
And again, is everything about nature always good? God made us just a
little less than the angels, so that we could apply our sense of
compassion to natural situations that are bound to cause misery.
Copyright produces less misery, IMHO, than it causes.
But my point is that there is a serious lack of evidence one way or the other
Billions of dollars supporting the lives of hundred of thousands of
people is pretty strong evidence that we are doing something right.
and what
evidence there is suggests strongly that over-strong copyright laws (like
we have now) are bad for *everyone*, and that weaker copyright (as in the
early 20th century) would be better.
And here is the crux of the debate. If good, how strong should it be?
Strong enough so that the creator pay his rent and his food and put his
children through college. No so strong that a new creator can't derive
a worthwhile new work from the old.
In any case, piracy is demonstrably *not* bad for everyone. The entire US
movie industry would not exist if not for patent infringement: the baby
industry was being choked out of existence by the high royalties and
licence fees demanded by the holders of Thomas Edison's patents, until
they fled to California where enforcement was lax.
But that's apples versus oranges, patent is far different from
copyright.
It churns my stomach to see
thieves and con artists like the RIAA trying to take the moral high ground
with talk of "copying is theft".
Copying is theft of opportunity for the creator to be rewarded for his
efforts. The RIAA serves an important role in attempting to introduce
this idea as part of our social norms and courtesies.
The mistake is only think of piracy as lost revenue.


Piracy occurs when the taking occurs without the consent of the
creator. Derivation and reverse engineering are not piracy, and has
been shown as such in court. Admittedly there is a very thin line.
And open source is not piracy, as the consent is given.

Nov 22 '05 #57
"The Eternal Squire" <et***********@comcast.net> writes:
Copyright is a gift granted by the government, not the natural state of
the world. When kings and emperors and presidents give commercial and
economic gifts, like monopolies, they rarely are for the benefit of the
majority.

Last I knew, we had government by, for, and of the people.


As far as I know, only one country ever claimed to have that, so your
"we" only applies to citizens of that country, and not to everyone who
may be reading the letter - and the status of the person you quoted
but did not attribute is unclear.

Further, recent evidence is that this is no longer true in that
country, assuming it ever was.
and what
evidence there is suggests strongly that over-strong copyright laws (like
we have now) are bad for *everyone*, and that weaker copyright (as in the
early 20th century) would be better.

And here is the crux of the debate. If good, how strong should it be?
Strong enough so that the creator pay his rent and his food and put his
children through college. No so strong that a new creator can't derive
a worthwhile new work from the old.


Neither of your two stated goals are being met by the current
copyright system. One of them is simply absurd as stated - presumably
because your statement is incomplete. Copyright by itself does not pay
the rent, put food on the table or put people through college. It's
strong enough to be do that *if* the public values what you create
enough and *if* you work hard enough at marketing it and *if* you
produce enough. Those are some mighty big ifs.

On the other hand, we're liable to never see creative work derived
from any Disney property newer than the Mouse, with certain narrow
exceptions. It seems that the government "by, for and of the people"
has reliably extended the lifetime of copyrights - retroactively, even
- every time the Mouse is about to slip into the public domain. Maybe
"the people" you're talking about above are "the rich corporations
with the congresscritters in their pockets." But that's hardly "the
majority".
It churns my stomach to see
thieves and con artists like the RIAA trying to take the moral high ground
with talk of "copying is theft".

Copying is theft of opportunity for the creator to be rewarded for his
efforts. The RIAA serves an important role in attempting to introduce
this idea as part of our social norms and courtesies.


You apparently think that taking the opportunity for the creator to be
rewarded for their efforts is ok if you deride other people who do
that very thing. So what's the difference between the RIAA and a
pirate who publicly points out that what the RIAA is up to?

<mike
--
Mike Meyer <mw*@mired.org> http://www.mired.org/home/mwm/
Independent WWW/Perforce/FreeBSD/Unix consultant, email for more information.
Nov 22 '05 #58
>As far as I know, only one country ever claimed to have that, so your
"we" only applies to citizens of that country, and not to everyone who
may be reading the letter - and the status of the person you quoted
but did not attribute is unclear.
It applies to not only the US, which explicitly has "We The People" in
our
Constitution, but to all other countries who model on republican
systems: Japan, Germany, France, South Korea, Taiwan, and more.
Further, recent evidence is that this is no longer true in that
country, assuming it ever was.
Wow, how Machiaviellian.
Copyright by itself does not pay
the rent, put food on the table or put people through college. It's
strong enough to be do that *if* the public values what you create
enough and *if* you work hard enough at marketing it and *if* you
produce enough. Those are some mighty big ifs.
Yes, profitable innovation is 1 percent inspiration plus 99 percent
persperation.
Maybe "the people" you're talking about above are "the rich corporations
with the congresscritters in their pockets." But that's hardly "the
majority".
It sometimes works that way, unfortunately. But at least we can vote
the
bastards out when we hear of such things.
You apparently think that taking the opportunity for the creator to be
rewarded for their efforts is ok if you deride other people who do
that very thing.
And in what way is piracy a form of creation?
So what's the difference between the RIAA and a
pirate who publicly points out that what the RIAA is up to?


The difference is that the RIAA does not copy software without the
copyright holder's consent.

Nov 22 '05 #59
Mike Meyer wrote:
Further, recent evidence is that this is no longer true in that
country, assuming it ever was.


Oh, please. Take the political crap elsewhere.

--
Erik Max Francis && ma*@alcyone.com && http://www.alcyone.com/max/
San Jose, CA, USA && 37 20 N 121 53 W && AIM erikmaxfrancis
There is no fate that cannot be surmounted by scorn.
-- Albert Camus
Nov 22 '05 #60
"The Eternal Squire" <et***********@comcast.net> writes:
Further, recent evidence is that this is no longer true in that
country, assuming it ever was.

Wow, how Machiaviellian.


Just an observation on the state of the US. It's been a long while
since the people running the country did so for the people.
Copyright by itself does not pay
the rent, put food on the table or put people through college. It's
strong enough to be do that *if* the public values what you create
enough and *if* you work hard enough at marketing it and *if* you
produce enough. Those are some mighty big ifs.

Yes, profitable innovation is 1 percent inspiration plus 99 percent
persperation.


The critical thing is that copyright isn't a vital part of the
formula. Lots of people make a good living creating intellectual
property without needing copyright on said property to provide the
income.

The whole claim that copyright benefits the creator is a
misdirection. Look at the number of creators who make a living off of
sale of copyrighted materials vs the number of people between the
creator and the consumer making a living off their work. Tell me who
owns the big, fancy offices - the creators, or the middlemen. Tell me
who's lobbying congress to create laws that protect and extend
copyright. Finally, notice the difference between what you pay for a
mass-market work - dollars - and what the creator gets - pennies, and
tell me who gets the difference. Yes, copyright benefits the creator,
but the primary beneficiaries are the people who arrange to put hard
media in the hands of the public - the publishers.

During the bulk of the twentieth century, this arrangement was
reasonable - the middlemen were putting up the money, and taking all
the financial risks. In some cases, they even took on the risk for the
creator themselves, paying the creator an advance against royalties,
so that if the product failed in the market, the creator got paid, and
they took the hit for it.

Given all that, the *real* question isn't "How will the creator get
paid?", it's "How will the creator get published?" The last few
decades have given us a *lot* of answers to that: put it on their web
site, which can be had for free; put it in a podcat; blog it; put it
in a torrent; and so on. How they make money off of it after that is
still being explored, but people are doing it. Yes, the creator
doesn't sell as many copies this way. On the other hand, they get a
much larger percentage of the price of the product.

Publishers are in danger of becoming irrelevant. That's why they're
making all the noise, and doing everything they can to limit the
publics rights. They're distracting people from the real issue - their
bottom line - by claiming it's "for the good of the creator", while
they try and make sure their business model - the one where they get
the bulk of the profits - stays in place. *These* are the people whose
side you are arguing, not the creator.
Maybe "the people" you're talking about above are "the rich corporations
with the congresscritters in their pockets." But that's hardly "the
majority".

It sometimes works that way, unfortunately. But at least we can vote
the
bastards out when we hear of such things.


It's been working that way regulary since the 1920s, and the same
bastards are still running the country.
You apparently think that taking the opportunity for the creator to be
rewarded for their efforts is ok if you deride other people who do
that very thing.

And in what way is piracy a form of creation?


That's a complete non-sequitor.
So what's the difference between the RIAA and a
pirate who publicly points out that what the RIAA is up to?

The difference is that the RIAA does not copy software without the
copyright holder's consent.


Actually, they do. More accurately, the companies that form the RIAA
do. That's the point.

<mike
--
Mike Meyer <mw*@mired.org> http://www.mired.org/home/mwm/
Independent WWW/Perforce/FreeBSD/Unix consultant, email for more information.
Nov 22 '05 #61
Erik Max Francis <ma*@alcyone.com> writes:
Mike Meyer wrote:
Further, recent evidence is that this is no longer true in that
country, assuming it ever was.

Oh, please. Take the political crap elsewhere.


It's got as much right to be here as the copyright crap. And I'm
trying to keep it to the minimum required to refute the political crap
I'm answering.

<mike
--
Mike Meyer <mw*@mired.org> http://www.mired.org/home/mwm/
Independent WWW/Perforce/FreeBSD/Unix consultant, email for more information.
Nov 22 '05 #62
On Sat, 12 Nov 2005 21:18:20 -0800, The Eternal Squire wrote:
Perhaps there is no way to make a living from writing novels without
copyright. [snip] I can ask "But without it, how
could one possibly make a living playing solitaire?"
Reductio de absurdum counterargument.


You say that as if it is a bad thing.

[snip]
Thomas Edison (I think it was him) once said it took 999 failures to
make 1 success. That makes SourceForge 10 times more successful.
Argument by platitude is it?

The world is filled with
millions of wanna-be poets, writers and creators whose sum total
contribution to the artistic wealth of the world is negative.

I'm not just using hyperbole. By poisoning the well with their garbage,
they just make it that little bit harder for genuinely talented artists to
be heard.


Whose opinion? Yours, or the market's?


It isn't a matter of opinion, it is a matter of objective fact. Ask any
publisher: all the promotion in the world won't increase the number of
book sales in total, but merely shift sales from some other books to the
ones you are promoting.

Believe me, publishers have been trying to influence the market to buy
more books, and if there is a way, they don't know it. The Harry Potter
fad is exceptional, and the publishers don't know what triggered it any
more than anyone else. (It certainly isn't the writing, which is only
moderately good, or the plot, which is terribly unoriginal.)

Walk into any book shop -- there are thousands of books. I just spent a
wonderful, but frustrating, afternoon yesterday shopping for books at six
different shops. I ended up with three books in my bag and a sinking
feeling that there are thousands of titles that I never even glanced at,
let alone made a rational decision whether or not to buy. I never even
walked through the history section, and I love history books.

With tens of thousands of new titles coming our every year, I can't even
notice all the new books, let alone the back catalog or out of print
books. Not read or buy -- merely notice.
Despite this, people keep trying to write the Great American Novel.
Creative artists will create, even if they would be economically better
off washing dishes at Greasy Joe's Diner for a buck an hour. Michaelangelo
didn't stop painting because he had no copyright protection.


And so the only valid income for a creative type is psychic income?


Do you think Michaelangelo survived on psychic income? Or Shakespeare, or
Bacon, or Ovid?
The natural state of things is not copyright. "No copyright" is not
punishing the author any more than "no flying unicorns" is punishing
little girls with a fantasy for flying through the sky on the back of a
horned horse. It is just the way things are.


Nature can be cruel. Do we dare drink unpasteurized milk because
natural is always good?


I've drunk unpasteurized milk. It is lovely. There is nothing wrong with
unpasteurized milk, if it is fresh. Keeping it fresh is the hard part.
For millenia slavery and serfdom were
considered "natural", but it caused endless human misery. And what
about plumbing and flush toilets? Those are not natural means to
convey eliminated wastes, but having just that in a society increases
the life expectancy of all its members by at least 10%.
It is irrelevant that natural things can be bad -- firstly, you have to
demonstrate that the alternative is better, and secondly you accused me of
"punishing" writers. Punishment doesn't come into it.

But please, if you can demonstrate that some level of copyright and/or
patent protection is good, I'm all ears. I already have my opinion, as I'm
sure you do, and if you read my earlier post carefully instead of jumping
to conclusions you will probably be able to work out what that is.

The purpose of humanity is to NOT accept the way the things are... but
to apply compassion in all situations which if unaided cause great pain
and suffering.
Exactly, which I why I'm doing my best to have the excessively strong
so-called "intellectual property" laws rolled back. I may never succeed,
but at least I'm trying to prevent abominations like the lawyer who has
applied for a patent on storylines.

Copyright is a gift granted by the government, not the natural state of
the world. When kings and emperors and presidents give commercial and
economic gifts, like monopolies, they rarely are for the benefit of the
majority.


Last I knew, we had government by, for, and of the people.


And a wonderful fairy tale that is too.
We give
these gifts to ourselves, our officials serve at our pleasure. I
believe we decided to choose to give ourselves the gift of copyright
because that way a creator can be rewarded for his efforts rather than
his hiers.


Yeah, right, that's why the Sony Bono Act extended copyright to 90 years
for corporations. You think Walt Disney is still alive to enjoy the riches
generated by Mickey Mouse?

Perhaps you should tell that to musicians, who were robbed of copyright
protection by an underhanded trick committed by a glorified clerk Mitch
Glazier, who later got a job for the RIAA:

http://www.cdbaby.net/articles/courtney_love.html

Yeah, government by, for, and of the people. It is to laugh.

Did you know that when copyright was first introduced in the United
States, you had to register to get 14 years protection, and then could
re-register for another 14 years if you wished? Registration was
essentially free of cost except for time. Only TWO PERCENT of books
published at the time were protected by copyright, the authors and
publishers making the decision that registering for copyright wasn't even
worth their time, and of those that did bother to register once, less than
one percent bothered to re-register 14 years later.

The market spoke: something like two out of a thousand authors felt that
28 years of monopoly protection was worth perhaps a day filling out a
couple of forms. The result was a wonderful vibrant public domain for
publishers and authors and other creators to work from.

Today, the merest scribble on a napkin is automatically protected by
copyright for 90+ years, and the public domain for authors to build on is
impoverished. In the twenty years since the Sony Bono Act was enacted,
more than one million patents will expire and not one copyright.

When you replied to my post, and your software automatically copied my
text into your reply, you were infringing my copyright -- as I have
infringed yours. The chances of me collecting damages from you are
essentially zero, but you were breaking the law. Laws which make ordinary
behaviour criminal or civil offences are not good laws, even if they
aren't enforced: they encourage disrespect for laws.

Lots of ideas have no legal monopoly. There is no legal monopoly on
(say) good gardening skills, or the specific way of mixing the batter to
make extra light and fluffy bread.


Reductio de absurdum counterargument again.


No, it comes to the very heart of the matter. Why are some ideas given
monopoly protection and not others? Why shouldn't cooking, which is an art
form, be given legally enforced monopoly protection? When you go to a
restaurant and see a dish on the menu, why shouldn't the restaurant be
permitted to sue you if you steal their intellectual property? They
worked hard to invent that recipe, why should anybody be allowed to just
duplicate it?

Why should some ideas be privileged over others?


This is a corallary of the idea that people have the right to pursue
happiness... which could basically mean either increased convience of
life, longer lifespan, or greater joy within. Any idea which increases
happiness in a society as a whole is more worthwhile than an idea which
does not. And the market decides which is which.


Oh dear, a market-worshiper. "The Almighty Market Shall Provide".

Lack of copyright doesn't need to be defended, as it is the natural
state of the world.


And again, is everything about nature always good? God made us just a
little less than the angels, so that we could apply our sense of
compassion to natural situations that are bound to cause misery.
Copyright produces less misery, IMHO, than it causes.


Where is your evidence for this? Economic analysis of the Sony Bono Act
was that it would add an average of just pennies of extra income to
the average copyright owner over an entire lifetime, while costing
publishers and readers hundreds of dollars in lost opportunities.

But my point is that there is a serious lack of evidence one way or the
other


Billions of dollars supporting the lives of hundred of thousands of
people is pretty strong evidence that we are doing something right.


What billions of dollars? What hundreds of thousands of people? The
average writer does not make a living from his or her books -- they are
lucky to make minimum wage. The average advance for a first novel is
$2000. It might take an author a year's work to get the book in a state
that they will be offered a contract, and another six months of extra work
before it is ready to be published. Something like 90% of books never get
any royalties beyond that first advance, and they never get offered a
second contract. You do the maths.

It churns my stomach to see
thieves and con artists like the RIAA trying to take the moral high
ground with talk of "copying is theft".


Copying is theft of opportunity for the creator to be rewarded for his
efforts. The RIAA serves an important role in attempting to introduce
this idea as part of our social norms and courtesies.


The RIAA are the biggest thieves and pirates out there. Their concern for
artists is *negative* -- they will, and have, deliberately attempted to
impoverish artists out of spite or an attempt to control the market, even
if it costs them money in the short term. I'm married to a musician who
had a long career in California, I know what I'm talking about. Or ask
George Michael what he thinks of the RIAA and the labels.

Or read this:

http://www.negativland.com/albini.html
--
Steven.

Nov 22 '05 #63
Mike Meyer wrote:
Erik Max Francis <ma*@alcyone.com> writes:
Mike Meyer wrote:
Further, recent evidence is that this is no longer true in that
country, assuming it ever was.


Oh, please. Take the political crap elsewhere.


It's got as much right to be here as the copyright crap. And I'm
trying to keep it to the minimum required to refute the political crap
I'm answering.


Off-topic responses are just as off-topic as the off-topic posts they
are responding to. Take 'em off-list. Use http://conversate.org/ for a
relatively convenient way to do so.

--
Robert Kern
rk***@ucsd.edu

"In the fields of hell where the grass grows high
Are the graves of dreams allowed to die."
-- Richard Harter

Nov 22 '05 #64
Mike Meyer wrote:
I have considered distributing my program as open source but with
encrypted data. Unfortunately anyone can just read the source to
determine the decryption method and password. Maybe I could put that
into an extension module, but that just moves the weak link along the
chain.
This isn't a Python problem, it's a problem with what you're doing. Try
Alex's solution, and put the data on a network server that goes
through whatever authentication you want it to.


To be fair, I don't think I have accused Python of having a problem,
just mentioned that this is an area where Python is less appropriate
than other languages which have a significant degree of obfuscation as
a side-effect of their use.

I already explained elsewhere that putting the data on the network is
not always appropriate. I know people love web services and the like
these days, but they are not the answer to everything. Even in
situations where it is practical to keep all the data server-side, it
still just moves the problem rather than solving it, in that instead of
people copying the data they now copy the authentication for the data.
Anecdotal evidence from experiences with online registration for
Half-Life 2 and Windows XP would suggest that this method ends up
annoying more legitimate customers than the usual copy-protection does.
It is? Is the Python disassembler so much advanced over the state of
the art of binary disassemblers, then? Or maybe it's the Python
decompilers that are so advanced?
Decompyle (http://www.crazy-compilers.com/decompyle/ ) claims to be
pretty advanced. I don't know if you can download it any more to test
this claim though.
As far as I can tell, the only real
difference between Python bytecodes and x86 (for instance) binaries is
that Python bytecodes keep the variable names around so it can do
run-timme lookups. That's not that big a difference.


It makes a lot of difference when you're hunting around for something
or trying to understand a bit of code. Python bytecode (or at least,
the output from dis) is also a lot more straightforward than x86 or 68K
assembly to decipher.
No, certainly not. But if you can mitigate your losses easily enough -
without infringing upon anyone else's rights, I must add - then why not
do so.


Elsewhere in the thread, you said:
I'd just like to make it non-trivial to make or use additional copies.


How do you do that without infringing my fair use rights?


Yes, I suppose my terminology there was wrong. The term I should
probably have used was 'distribute usable additional copies'. Generally
speaking I believe in the "like a book" interpretation of rights... you
should have the right to give it away, sell it to someone, lend it,
excerpt parts for review or criticism, but not to distribute additional
copies that essentially duplicate the original.

On the other hand though, what you term a 'fair use right' is not
necessarily viewed that way under law. The relevant part of the law (at
least in the US) says "it is not an infringement for the owner of a
copy of a computer program to make or authorize the making of another
copy or adaptation of that computer program provided [...] that such
new copy or adaptation is for archival purposes only", which is quite
distinct, legally speaking, from saying "you have the right to make a
copy or adaptation for archival purposes".

However, this is drifting more into the legal area which I am less
interested in. Really I'd just like to be able to use Python for my
work and am interested in finding the best way of doing so.

--
Ben Sizer.

Nov 22 '05 #65
"Ben Sizer" <ky*****@gmail.com> writes:
It is? Is the Python disassembler so much advanced over the state of
the art of binary disassemblers, then? Or maybe it's the Python
decompilers that are so advanced? Decompyle (http://www.crazy-compilers.com/decompyle/ ) claims to be
pretty advanced. I don't know if you can download it any more to test
this claim though.


No, it doesn't claim to be advanced. It claims to be good at what it
does. There's no comparison with other decompilers at all. In
particular, this doesn't give you any idea whether or not similar
products exist for x86 or 68k binaries. Your claim was that it's
easier to go from pyc files to code than from binaries to code. To
show that, you have to show not only that it's easy to go from pyc
files to code, but that it's hard to go from binary files to
code. I've dealt with some very powerfull disassemblers and
decompilers, but none of them worked on modern architectures.
As far as I can tell, the only real
difference between Python bytecodes and x86 (for instance) binaries is
that Python bytecodes keep the variable names around so it can do
run-timme lookups. That's not that big a difference.

It makes a lot of difference when you're hunting around for something
or trying to understand a bit of code. Python bytecode (or at least,
the output from dis) is also a lot more straightforward than x86 or 68K
assembly to decipher.


I'm not convinced of the former. I'll grant you half of the
latter. 68K machine language is fairly straightforward. On the other
hand, it's also seems to be irrelevant. What platform are you
developing for that's still based on the 68K?
> I'd just like to make it non-trivial to make or use additional copies.

How do you do that without infringing my fair use rights?

Yes, I suppose my terminology there was wrong. The term I should
probably have used was 'distribute usable additional copies'.


My question still stands, though - and unanswered.
On the other hand though, what you term a 'fair use right' is not
necessarily viewed that way under law. The relevant part of the law (at
least in the US) says "it is not an infringement for the owner of a
copy of a computer program to make or authorize the making of another
copy or adaptation of that computer program provided [...] that such
new copy or adaptation is for archival purposes only", which is quite
distinct, legally speaking, from saying "you have the right to make a
copy or adaptation for archival purposes".


I think this just makes explicit that those activies are indeed fair
use, which is what non-infringing copying is called, and that you're
playing semantic games to salve your conscience. But we can be
explicit if you want: How do you do that without requiring that your
software be given special consideration in the distaster recovery and
preparedness planning? You should be concerned about this, as that
special consideration is often "Return that POS".

<mike
--
Mike Meyer <mw*@mired.org> http://www.mired.org/home/mwm/
Independent WWW/Perforce/FreeBSD/Unix consultant, email for more information.
Nov 22 '05 #66
Mike Meyer wrote:
"Ben Sizer" <ky*****@gmail.com> writes:
Decompyle (http://www.crazy-compilers.com/decompyle/ ) claims to be
pretty advanced. I don't know if you can download it any more to test
this claim though.
No, it doesn't claim to be advanced. It claims to be good at what it
does. There's no comparison with other decompilers at all. In
particular, this doesn't give you any idea whether or not similar
products exist for x86 or 68k binaries.


That's irrelevant. We don't require a citable source to prove the
simple fact that x86 binaries do not by default contain symbol names
whereas Python .pyc and .pyo files do contain them. So any
decompilation of (for example) C++ code is going to lose all the
readable qualities, as well as missing any symbolic constants,
enumerations, templated classes and functions, macros, #includes,
inlined functions, typedefs, some distinctions between array indexing
and pointer arithmetic, which inner scope a simple data variable is
declared in, distinctions between functions/member functions declared
as not 'thiscall'/static member functions, const declarations, etc.
I've dealt with some very powerfull disassemblers and
decompilers, but none of them worked on modern architectures.
You can definitely extract something useful from them, but without
symbol names you're going to have to be working with a good debugger
and a decent knowledge of how to use it if you want to find anything
specific. Whereas Python could give you something pretty obvious such
as:

6 LOAD_FAST 0 (licensed)
9 JUMP_IF_FALSE 9 (to 21)
It makes a lot of difference when you're hunting around for something
or trying to understand a bit of code. Python bytecode (or at least,
the output from dis) is also a lot more straightforward than x86 or 68K
assembly to decipher.


I'm not convinced of the former. I'll grant you half of the
latter. 68K machine language is fairly straightforward. On the other
hand, it's also seems to be irrelevant. What platform are you
developing for that's still based on the 68K?


There are several embedded/portable devices based on 68K derivatives.
That's not really the point though. I chose 68K assembly as an example
as it's considered to be simpler than x86 assembly, yet it's still
significantly more complex and less readable than the output from
dis.dis()
The term I should
probably have used was 'distribute usable additional copies'.


My question still stands, though - and unanswered.


I'm not really sure where we're going here. I have made the point that
I am not obliged to make my software copyable to facilitate your right
to copy it any more than any given newspaper is obliged to publish you
to facilitate your right to free speech. Therefore I find it hard to
see how anything is infringing upon a right here.

My interest lies in being able to use encrypted data (where 'data' can
also include parts of the code) so that the data can only be read by my
Python program, and specifically by a single instance of that program.
You would be able to make a backup copy (or 20), you could give the
whole lot to someone else, etc etc. I would just like to make it so
that you can't stick the data file on Bittorrent and have the entire
world playing with data that was only purchased once.
But we can be
explicit if you want: How do you do that without requiring that your
software be given special consideration in the distaster recovery and
preparedness planning?


I should state that I am not at all claiming a "one size fits all"
policy for software development. Firstly, from a personal point of view
I am talking about simple consumer entertainment software which is not
mission critical or anything like it. For more important software,
there will surely be different expectations and requirements. In my
case, providing a free download of any lost executables or data upon
presentation of a legitimate license key should be adequate.

--
Ben Sizer.

Nov 22 '05 #67
"Ben Sizer" <ky*****@gmail.com> writes:
But we can be
explicit if you want: How do you do that without requiring that your
software be given special consideration in the distaster recovery and
preparedness planning?

I should state that I am not at all claiming a "one size fits all"
policy for software development. Firstly, from a personal point of view
I am talking about simple consumer entertainment software which is not
mission critical or anything like it. For more important software,
there will surely be different expectations and requirements. In my
case, providing a free download of any lost executables or data upon
presentation of a legitimate license key should be adequate.


In other words, you don't do that at all. My special handling for such
things - and *especially* for entertainment software, where the media
gets handled by children - is "Return that POS." Worse yet, you play
semantic games so you can claim not to be violating fair use rights in
the process.

<mike
--
Mike Meyer <mw*@mired.org> http://www.mired.org/home/mwm/
Independent WWW/Perforce/FreeBSD/Unix consultant, email for more information.
Nov 22 '05 #68
The Eternal Squire a écrit :
Without copyright, how could one possibly earn a living writing a
novel?


Without copyright, how could one possibly earn a living writing programs?-)
Nov 22 '05 #69
>In my case, providing a free download of any lost executables or data upon
presentation of a legitimate license key should be adequate.


Excellent compromise!

The Eternal Squire

Nov 22 '05 #70
My point exactly. A good application of moderate to large size (100K
lines of code) is about as large as a single person can write without
automation, hence it is of an effort comparable in scope and creativity
to a novel.

Nov 22 '05 #71
>In my case, providing a free download of any lost executables or data upon
presentation of a legitimate license key should be adequate.


Excellent compromise!

The Eternal Squire

Nov 22 '05 #72
My point exactly. A good application of moderate to large size (100K
lines of code) is about as large as a single person can write without
automation, hence it is of an effort comparable in scope and creativity
to a novel.

Nov 22 '05 #73
On 11/15/05, Bruno Desthuilliers
<bd*****************@free.quelquepart.fr> wrote:
The Eternal Squire a écrit :
Without copyright, how could one possibly earn a living writing a
novel?
Without copyright, how could one possibly earn a living writing programs?-)
--


I don't know about you, but I own the copyright to almost nothing that
I have written and been paid for, and further, none of has it's
copyright exploited to make money for the entity that does own the
copyright.

Thats not to say that there wouldn't be massive fallout from the lack
of copyright, or that I support that extreme of a solution, but many,
many programs would still be written, and people would still be paid
to write them, even in the absence of copyright. In fact, a few
decades ago, it was legally uncertain whether software qualified for
an IP protection at all, and people still wrote, and were paid to
write, programs.
http://mail.python.org/mailman/listinfo/python-list

Nov 22 '05 #74
On 11/15/05, Bruno Desthuilliers
<bd*****************@free.quelquepart.fr> wrote:
The Eternal Squire a écrit :
Without copyright, how could one possibly earn a living writing a
novel?
Without copyright, how could one possibly earn a living writing programs?-)
--


I don't know about you, but I own the copyright to almost nothing that
I have written and been paid for, and further, none of has it's
copyright exploited to make money for the entity that does own the
copyright.

Thats not to say that there wouldn't be massive fallout from the lack
of copyright, or that I support that extreme of a solution, but many,
many programs would still be written, and people would still be paid
to write them, even in the absence of copyright. In fact, a few
decades ago, it was legally uncertain whether software qualified for
an IP protection at all, and people still wrote, and were paid to
write, programs.
http://mail.python.org/mailman/listinfo/python-list

Nov 22 '05 #75
Chris Mellon wrote:
I don't know about you, but I own the copyright to almost nothing that
I have written and been paid for, and further, none of has it's
copyright exploited to make money for the entity that does own the
copyright.


But they wouldn't have paid you if you didn't (implicitly) transfer the
copyright to them. So copyright is just as relevant whether it's a work
for hire or not.

--
Erik Max Francis && ma*@alcyone.com && http://www.alcyone.com/max/
San Jose, CA, USA && 37 20 N 121 53 W && AIM erikmaxfrancis
You could have another fate / You could be in another place
-- Anggun
Nov 22 '05 #76
Chris Mellon wrote:
I don't know about you, but I own the copyright to almost nothing that
I have written and been paid for, and further, none of has it's
copyright exploited to make money for the entity that does own the
copyright.


But they wouldn't have paid you if you didn't (implicitly) transfer the
copyright to them. So copyright is just as relevant whether it's a work
for hire or not.

--
Erik Max Francis && ma*@alcyone.com && http://www.alcyone.com/max/
San Jose, CA, USA && 37 20 N 121 53 W && AIM erikmaxfrancis
You could have another fate / You could be in another place
-- Anggun
Nov 22 '05 #77
Erik Max Francis <ma*@alcyone.com> writes:
Chris Mellon wrote:
I don't know about you, but I own the copyright to almost nothing that
I have written and been paid for, and further, none of has it's
copyright exploited to make money for the entity that does own the
copyright.

But they wouldn't have paid you if you didn't (implicitly) transfer
the copyright to them. So copyright is just as relevant whether it's
a work for hire or not.


I'm in the same position as Chris, and I'll say that that's almost
certainly not true. For most of them, the copyright was
irrelevant. What mattered was the right to use the software. In fact,
some of the contracts I have had explictly did *not* transfer the
copyright, but only granted the right to use it.

I don't have figured postdating the introduction of shrinkwrap
software, but before then, copyright was irrelevant for the bulk of
software written. The majority was either public domain or classified.

<mike
--
Mike Meyer <mw*@mired.org> http://www.mired.org/home/mwm/
Independent WWW/Perforce/FreeBSD/Unix consultant, email for more information.
Nov 22 '05 #78
Erik Max Francis <ma*@alcyone.com> writes:
Chris Mellon wrote:
I don't know about you, but I own the copyright to almost nothing that
I have written and been paid for, and further, none of has it's
copyright exploited to make money for the entity that does own the
copyright.

But they wouldn't have paid you if you didn't (implicitly) transfer
the copyright to them. So copyright is just as relevant whether it's
a work for hire or not.


I'm in the same position as Chris, and I'll say that that's almost
certainly not true. For most of them, the copyright was
irrelevant. What mattered was the right to use the software. In fact,
some of the contracts I have had explictly did *not* transfer the
copyright, but only granted the right to use it.

I don't have figured postdating the introduction of shrinkwrap
software, but before then, copyright was irrelevant for the bulk of
software written. The majority was either public domain or classified.

<mike
--
Mike Meyer <mw*@mired.org> http://www.mired.org/home/mwm/
Independent WWW/Perforce/FreeBSD/Unix consultant, email for more information.
Nov 22 '05 #79
Bruno Desthuilliers wrote:
The Eternal Squire a écrit :
Without copyright, how could one possibly earn a living writing a
novel?

Without copyright, how could one possibly earn a living writing programs?-)


I'm not sure if that is meant to be a rhetorical
question or not, but something of the order of 95% of
all software written is never distributed to others,
and so copyright or the lack of copyright is not an issue.

If software is for purely in-house use, you don't care
if you have copyright on it, because nobody can use
that software.

Very few professional (i.e. they get paid to program)
developers actually own the copyright on the programs
they write, and of those that do own the copyright,
even fewer make money directly from that copyright.

--
Steven.

Nov 22 '05 #80
Bruno Desthuilliers wrote:
The Eternal Squire a écrit :
Without copyright, how could one possibly earn a living writing a
novel?

Without copyright, how could one possibly earn a living writing programs?-)


I'm not sure if that is meant to be a rhetorical
question or not, but something of the order of 95% of
all software written is never distributed to others,
and so copyright or the lack of copyright is not an issue.

If software is for purely in-house use, you don't care
if you have copyright on it, because nobody can use
that software.

Very few professional (i.e. they get paid to program)
developers actually own the copyright on the programs
they write, and of those that do own the copyright,
even fewer make money directly from that copyright.

--
Steven.

Nov 22 '05 #81
Mike Meyer wrote:
"Ben Sizer" <ky*****@gmail.com> writes:
In my
case, providing a free download of any lost executables or data upon
presentation of a legitimate license key should be adequate.
My special handling for such
things - and *especially* for entertainment software, where the media
gets handled by children - is "Return that POS."


That's funny, I could have sworn that a few messages above you
suggested I "Try Alex's solution, and put the data on a network server
that goes through whatever authentication you want it to."

Are you claiming therefore that it's more acceptable to you to have to
access the data remotely every time you use the software than once per
install?
Worse yet, you play
semantic games so you can claim not to be violating fair use rights in
the process.


No, I am just pointing out that you are mixing up the concept of an
actual 'right' such as one embodied in a state's constitution, with an
implied 'right' that is just an exemption from committing an offence.
The term 'right' does not even appear in the relevant part of US
copyright law, except to state that it is a limitation on the copyright
holder's rights.

--
Ben Sizer.

Nov 22 '05 #82
Mike Meyer wrote:
"Ben Sizer" <ky*****@gmail.com> writes:
In my
case, providing a free download of any lost executables or data upon
presentation of a legitimate license key should be adequate.
My special handling for such
things - and *especially* for entertainment software, where the media
gets handled by children - is "Return that POS."


That's funny, I could have sworn that a few messages above you
suggested I "Try Alex's solution, and put the data on a network server
that goes through whatever authentication you want it to."

Are you claiming therefore that it's more acceptable to you to have to
access the data remotely every time you use the software than once per
install?
Worse yet, you play
semantic games so you can claim not to be violating fair use rights in
the process.


No, I am just pointing out that you are mixing up the concept of an
actual 'right' such as one embodied in a state's constitution, with an
implied 'right' that is just an exemption from committing an offence.
The term 'right' does not even appear in the relevant part of US
copyright law, except to state that it is a limitation on the copyright
holder's rights.

--
Ben Sizer.

Nov 22 '05 #83
Steven D'Aprano <st***@removemecyber.com.au> wrote:
I'm not sure if that is meant to be a rhetorical
question or not, but something of the order of 95% of
all software written is never distributed to others,
and so copyright or the lack of copyright is not an issue.


Can you cite your source(s) for this information?
Nov 22 '05 #84
Steven D'Aprano <st***@removemecyber.com.au> wrote:
I'm not sure if that is meant to be a rhetorical
question or not, but something of the order of 95% of
all software written is never distributed to others,
and so copyright or the lack of copyright is not an issue.


Can you cite your source(s) for this information?
Nov 22 '05 #85

Ben Sizer wrote:
Mike Meyer wrote:
"Ben Sizer" <ky*****@gmail.com> writes:
Decompyle (http://www.crazy-compilers.com/decompyle/ ) claims to be
pretty advanced. I don't know if you can download it any more to test
this claim though.


No, it doesn't claim to be advanced. It claims to be good at what it
does. There's no comparison with other decompilers at all. In
particular, this doesn't give you any idea whether or not similar
products exist for x86 or 68k binaries.


That's irrelevant. We don't require a citable source to prove the
simple fact that x86 binaries do not by default contain symbol names
whereas Python .pyc and .pyo files do contain them. So any
decompilation of (for example) C++ code is going to lose all the
readable qualities, as well as missing any symbolic constants,
enumerations, templated classes and functions, macros, #includes,
inlined functions, typedefs, some distinctions between array indexing
and pointer arithmetic, which inner scope a simple data variable is
declared in, distinctions between functions/member functions declared
as not 'thiscall'/static member functions, const declarations, etc.
I've dealt with some very powerfull disassemblers and
decompilers, but none of them worked on modern architectures.


You can definitely extract something useful from them, but without
symbol names you're going to have to be working with a good debugger
and a decent knowledge of how to use it if you want to find anything
specific. Whereas Python could give you something pretty obvious such
as:

6 LOAD_FAST 0 (licensed)
9 JUMP_IF_FALSE 9 (to 21)
It makes a lot of difference when you're hunting around for something
or trying to understand a bit of code. Python bytecode (or at least,
the output from dis) is also a lot more straightforward than x86 or 68K
assembly to decipher.


I'm not convinced of the former. I'll grant you half of the
latter. 68K machine language is fairly straightforward. On the other
hand, it's also seems to be irrelevant. What platform are you
developing for that's still based on the 68K?


There are several embedded/portable devices based on 68K derivatives.
That's not really the point though. I chose 68K assembly as an example
as it's considered to be simpler than x86 assembly, yet it's still
significantly more complex and less readable than the output from
dis.dis()
The term I should
probably have used was 'distribute usable additional copies'.


My question still stands, though - and unanswered.


I'm not really sure where we're going here. I have made the point that
I am not obliged to make my software copyable to facilitate your right
to copy it any more than any given newspaper is obliged to publish you
to facilitate your right to free speech. Therefore I find it hard to
see how anything is infringing upon a right here.

My interest lies in being able to use encrypted data (where 'data' can
also include parts of the code) so that the data can only be read by my
Python program, and specifically by a single instance of that program.
You would be able to make a backup copy (or 20), you could give the
whole lot to someone else, etc etc. I would just like to make it so
that you can't stick the data file on Bittorrent and have the entire
world playing with data that was only purchased once.
But we can be
explicit if you want: How do you do that without requiring that your
software be given special consideration in the distaster recovery and
preparedness planning?


I should state that I am not at all claiming a "one size fits all"
policy for software development. Firstly, from a personal point of view
I am talking about simple consumer entertainment software which is not
mission critical or anything like it. For more important software,
there will surely be different expectations and requirements. In my
case, providing a free download of any lost executables or data upon
presentation of a legitimate license key should be adequate.

--
Ben Sizer.


Do developers, when writing code consider how protected their code will
be when considering what language they will write it in i.e ease of
use, speed of language, maintainability and 'obfuscatability' ?

Is the problem of protecting or otherwise encrypting portions of code a
showstopper for some companies/individuals when using bytecode
interpreted languages?

I'm asking coz i don't have any real world/industrial basis to better
understand the problem and factors involved when selling software - i'm
just a student

************************************************** *******
petantik f00l
http://petantik.blogsome.com - A Lucid Look at Reality

Nov 22 '05 #86

Ben Sizer wrote:
Mike Meyer wrote:
"Ben Sizer" <ky*****@gmail.com> writes:
Decompyle (http://www.crazy-compilers.com/decompyle/ ) claims to be
pretty advanced. I don't know if you can download it any more to test
this claim though.


No, it doesn't claim to be advanced. It claims to be good at what it
does. There's no comparison with other decompilers at all. In
particular, this doesn't give you any idea whether or not similar
products exist for x86 or 68k binaries.


That's irrelevant. We don't require a citable source to prove the
simple fact that x86 binaries do not by default contain symbol names
whereas Python .pyc and .pyo files do contain them. So any
decompilation of (for example) C++ code is going to lose all the
readable qualities, as well as missing any symbolic constants,
enumerations, templated classes and functions, macros, #includes,
inlined functions, typedefs, some distinctions between array indexing
and pointer arithmetic, which inner scope a simple data variable is
declared in, distinctions between functions/member functions declared
as not 'thiscall'/static member functions, const declarations, etc.
I've dealt with some very powerfull disassemblers and
decompilers, but none of them worked on modern architectures.


You can definitely extract something useful from them, but without
symbol names you're going to have to be working with a good debugger
and a decent knowledge of how to use it if you want to find anything
specific. Whereas Python could give you something pretty obvious such
as:

6 LOAD_FAST 0 (licensed)
9 JUMP_IF_FALSE 9 (to 21)
It makes a lot of difference when you're hunting around for something
or trying to understand a bit of code. Python bytecode (or at least,
the output from dis) is also a lot more straightforward than x86 or 68K
assembly to decipher.


I'm not convinced of the former. I'll grant you half of the
latter. 68K machine language is fairly straightforward. On the other
hand, it's also seems to be irrelevant. What platform are you
developing for that's still based on the 68K?


There are several embedded/portable devices based on 68K derivatives.
That's not really the point though. I chose 68K assembly as an example
as it's considered to be simpler than x86 assembly, yet it's still
significantly more complex and less readable than the output from
dis.dis()
The term I should
probably have used was 'distribute usable additional copies'.


My question still stands, though - and unanswered.


I'm not really sure where we're going here. I have made the point that
I am not obliged to make my software copyable to facilitate your right
to copy it any more than any given newspaper is obliged to publish you
to facilitate your right to free speech. Therefore I find it hard to
see how anything is infringing upon a right here.

My interest lies in being able to use encrypted data (where 'data' can
also include parts of the code) so that the data can only be read by my
Python program, and specifically by a single instance of that program.
You would be able to make a backup copy (or 20), you could give the
whole lot to someone else, etc etc. I would just like to make it so
that you can't stick the data file on Bittorrent and have the entire
world playing with data that was only purchased once.
But we can be
explicit if you want: How do you do that without requiring that your
software be given special consideration in the distaster recovery and
preparedness planning?


I should state that I am not at all claiming a "one size fits all"
policy for software development. Firstly, from a personal point of view
I am talking about simple consumer entertainment software which is not
mission critical or anything like it. For more important software,
there will surely be different expectations and requirements. In my
case, providing a free download of any lost executables or data upon
presentation of a legitimate license key should be adequate.

--
Ben Sizer.


Do developers, when writing code consider how protected their code will
be when considering what language they will write it in i.e ease of
use, speed of language, maintainability and 'obfuscatability' ?

Is the problem of protecting or otherwise encrypting portions of code a
showstopper for some companies/individuals when using bytecode
interpreted languages?

I'm asking coz i don't have any real world/industrial basis to better
understand the problem and factors involved when selling software - i'm
just a student

************************************************** *******
petantik f00l
http://petantik.blogsome.com - A Lucid Look at Reality

Nov 22 '05 #87
"Ben Sizer" <ky*****@gmail.com> writes:
Mike Meyer wrote:
"Ben Sizer" <ky*****@gmail.com> writes:
> In my
> case, providing a free download of any lost executables or data upon
> presentation of a legitimate license key should be adequate.

My special handling for such
things - and *especially* for entertainment software, where the media
gets handled by children - is "Return that POS."

That's funny, I could have sworn that a few messages above you
suggested I "Try Alex's solution, and put the data on a network server
that goes through whatever authentication you want it to."
Are you claiming therefore that it's more acceptable to you to have to
access the data remotely every time you use the software than once per
install?


Alex's solution doesn't require special treatment for disaster
recovery and/or planning, and as such is a valid answer to the
question. It may be unacceptable for *other* reasons, but it beats
dictating a disaster recovery plan for your software to the end user
hands down on that basis.
Worse yet, you play
semantic games so you can claim not to be violating fair use rights in
the process.

No, I am just pointing out that you are mixing up the concept of an
actual 'right' such as one embodied in a state's constitution, with an
implied 'right' that is just an exemption from committing an offence.
The term 'right' does not even appear in the relevant part of US
copyright law, except to state that it is a limitation on the copyright
holder's rights.


You're still just playing semantic games. The common usage is "fair
use rights." If you mean "... without infringing on the end users
rights, except for fair use rights", then you should say that.

<mike
--
Mike Meyer <mw*@mired.org> http://www.mired.org/home/mwm/
Independent WWW/Perforce/FreeBSD/Unix consultant, email for more information.
Nov 22 '05 #88
"Ben Sizer" <ky*****@gmail.com> writes:
Mike Meyer wrote:
"Ben Sizer" <ky*****@gmail.com> writes:
> In my
> case, providing a free download of any lost executables or data upon
> presentation of a legitimate license key should be adequate.

My special handling for such
things - and *especially* for entertainment software, where the media
gets handled by children - is "Return that POS."

That's funny, I could have sworn that a few messages above you
suggested I "Try Alex's solution, and put the data on a network server
that goes through whatever authentication you want it to."
Are you claiming therefore that it's more acceptable to you to have to
access the data remotely every time you use the software than once per
install?


Alex's solution doesn't require special treatment for disaster
recovery and/or planning, and as such is a valid answer to the
question. It may be unacceptable for *other* reasons, but it beats
dictating a disaster recovery plan for your software to the end user
hands down on that basis.
Worse yet, you play
semantic games so you can claim not to be violating fair use rights in
the process.

No, I am just pointing out that you are mixing up the concept of an
actual 'right' such as one embodied in a state's constitution, with an
implied 'right' that is just an exemption from committing an offence.
The term 'right' does not even appear in the relevant part of US
copyright law, except to state that it is a limitation on the copyright
holder's rights.


You're still just playing semantic games. The common usage is "fair
use rights." If you mean "... without infringing on the end users
rights, except for fair use rights", then you should say that.

<mike
--
Mike Meyer <mw*@mired.org> http://www.mired.org/home/mwm/
Independent WWW/Perforce/FreeBSD/Unix consultant, email for more information.
Nov 22 '05 #89
On Wed, 16 Nov 2005 13:51:35 +0000, Ed Jensen wrote:
Steven D'Aprano <st***@removemecyber.com.au> wrote:
I'm not sure if that is meant to be a rhetorical
question or not, but something of the order of 95% of
all software written is never distributed to others,
and so copyright or the lack of copyright is not an issue.


Can you cite your source(s) for this information?


Not easily, but I will try.

If it helps, I will clarify what I was talking about -- in hindsight it is
a little unclear. Most software written (I think about 95%) is by
companies for in-house use only. Since it never gets distributed outside
of the company using it, copyright is of little additional value.
--
Steven.

Nov 22 '05 #90
On Wed, 16 Nov 2005 13:51:35 +0000, Ed Jensen wrote:
Steven D'Aprano <st***@removemecyber.com.au> wrote:
I'm not sure if that is meant to be a rhetorical
question or not, but something of the order of 95% of
all software written is never distributed to others,
and so copyright or the lack of copyright is not an issue.


Can you cite your source(s) for this information?


Not easily, but I will try.

If it helps, I will clarify what I was talking about -- in hindsight it is
a little unclear. Most software written (I think about 95%) is by
companies for in-house use only. Since it never gets distributed outside
of the company using it, copyright is of little additional value.
--
Steven.

Nov 22 '05 #91
>I'm asking coz i don't have any real world/industrial basis to better
understand the problem and factors involved when selling software - i'm
just a student
A fair request. The teaching of legality and ethics of incorporating
other peoples' works into one's own should begin at 6th grade and be
repeated every year until the message is driven home.

The concept of intellectual property (patent, copyright, trade secret)
is an extension into the business world of issues regarding the proper
usage of ideas (e.g. scientific principles) as treated in high school
and college.
Do developers, when writing code consider how protected their
code will be when considering what language they will write it in
i.e ease of use, speed of language, maintainability and
'obfuscatability' ?


Typically not due to a few well-known principles: 1) Essentially an
optimized (not debug!) compilation from source code to machine language
is nearly as good as encryption for hindering reverse engineering of
the distributed code, 2) Network license servers residing on a
seperate machine in the network apart from the executing software have
become the method of choice for securing more valuable software, 3)
User support and service is not an increasingly large component of the
service provided by a software product, which can only be obtained
through possession of a legal copy, 4) The time-to-market and
obsolescense windows of software are continuing to decrease to the
point where the time required to get around security is more expensive
than the utility that software provides.

Of course, all generally sweeping rules are false including this one,
but those are the trends.

All that being said:

The greatest theft of sales opportunities resides in entertainment or
gaming software. Little can be done to stop it except through
repeated education at every grade level that copying without paying is
as bad as plagiarism and just as dangerous to one's career in school.
Ourselves and our children are lost generations with respect to ethics,
manners, and respect for authority, perhaps we can train our
grandchildren to behave more proprely.

Productivity software is less so, the market is usually flooded with
reverse engineered or lookalike competitors but brand name loyality
usually wins out. Electronic Design Automation (EDA) software is
rarely so, due to the huge need for customer support that is denied to
an unregistered user.

Nov 22 '05 #92
>I'm asking coz i don't have any real world/industrial basis to better
understand the problem and factors involved when selling software - i'm
just a student
A fair request. The teaching of legality and ethics of incorporating
other peoples' works into one's own should begin at 6th grade and be
repeated every year until the message is driven home.

The concept of intellectual property (patent, copyright, trade secret)
is an extension into the business world of issues regarding the proper
usage of ideas (e.g. scientific principles) as treated in high school
and college.
Do developers, when writing code consider how protected their
code will be when considering what language they will write it in
i.e ease of use, speed of language, maintainability and
'obfuscatability' ?


Typically not due to a few well-known principles: 1) Essentially an
optimized (not debug!) compilation from source code to machine language
is nearly as good as encryption for hindering reverse engineering of
the distributed code, 2) Network license servers residing on a
seperate machine in the network apart from the executing software have
become the method of choice for securing more valuable software, 3)
User support and service is not an increasingly large component of the
service provided by a software product, which can only be obtained
through possession of a legal copy, 4) The time-to-market and
obsolescense windows of software are continuing to decrease to the
point where the time required to get around security is more expensive
than the utility that software provides.

Of course, all generally sweeping rules are false including this one,
but those are the trends.

All that being said:

The greatest theft of sales opportunities resides in entertainment or
gaming software. Little can be done to stop it except through
repeated education at every grade level that copying without paying is
as bad as plagiarism and just as dangerous to one's career in school.
Ourselves and our children are lost generations with respect to ethics,
manners, and respect for authority, perhaps we can train our
grandchildren to behave more proprely.

Productivity software is less so, the market is usually flooded with
reverse engineered or lookalike competitors but brand name loyality
usually wins out. Electronic Design Automation (EDA) software is
rarely so, due to the huge need for customer support that is denied to
an unregistered user.

Nov 22 '05 #93
Change from

3) User support and service is not an increasingly large component of
the
service provided by a software product, which can only be obtained

to

3) User support and service is an increasingly large component of the
service provided by a software product, which can only be obtained

Oops,

The Eternal Squire

Nov 22 '05 #94
Change from

3) User support and service is not an increasingly large component of
the
service provided by a software product, which can only be obtained

to

3) User support and service is an increasingly large component of the
service provided by a software product, which can only be obtained

Oops,

The Eternal Squire

Nov 22 '05 #95
The Eternal Squire <et***********@comcast.net> wrote:
The teaching of legality and ethics of incorporating other peoples'
works into one's own should begin at 6th grade and be repeated every
year until the message is driven home.


I disagree strongly.

The legality of copying, modifying and redistributing works should be
reformed until it matches a 6th grader's intuitions about sharing.

--
\ "I bought some powdered water, but I don't know what to add." |
`\ -- Steven Wright |
_o__) |
Ben Finney
Nov 22 '05 #96
The Eternal Squire <et***********@comcast.net> wrote:
The teaching of legality and ethics of incorporating other peoples'
works into one's own should begin at 6th grade and be repeated every
year until the message is driven home.


I disagree strongly.

The legality of copying, modifying and redistributing works should be
reformed until it matches a 6th grader's intuitions about sharing.

--
\ "I bought some powdered water, but I don't know what to add." |
`\ -- Steven Wright |
_o__) |
Ben Finney
Nov 22 '05 #97
The Eternal Squire <et***********@comcast.net> wrote:
The greatest theft of sales opportunities
Utter poppycock. Who is to say that a particular entity holds an
exclusive "sales opportunity" to a particular individual? Are we to
protect the expectations of profit for some, at the expense of sharing
things with each other?
Little can be done to stop it except through repeated education at
every grade level that copying without paying is as bad as
plagiarism and just as dangerous to one's career in school.
Wonderful double-think.
Ourselves and our children are lost generations with respect to
ethics, manners,
Ethics such as sharing, and helping one's neighbour?
and respect for authority
When such "authority" demands that we enter unsigned contracts to
protect their profits, they lose our respect, yes.
perhaps we can train our grandchildren to behave more proprely.


I certainly hope our grandchildren will live in an environment that
encourages helping each other, yes.

--
\ "We spend the first twelve months of our children's lives |
`\ teaching them to walk and talk and the next twelve years |
_o__) telling them to sit down and shut up." -- Phyllis Diller |
Ben Finney
Nov 22 '05 #98
The Eternal Squire <et***********@comcast.net> wrote:
The greatest theft of sales opportunities
Utter poppycock. Who is to say that a particular entity holds an
exclusive "sales opportunity" to a particular individual? Are we to
protect the expectations of profit for some, at the expense of sharing
things with each other?
Little can be done to stop it except through repeated education at
every grade level that copying without paying is as bad as
plagiarism and just as dangerous to one's career in school.
Wonderful double-think.
Ourselves and our children are lost generations with respect to
ethics, manners,
Ethics such as sharing, and helping one's neighbour?
and respect for authority
When such "authority" demands that we enter unsigned contracts to
protect their profits, they lose our respect, yes.
perhaps we can train our grandchildren to behave more proprely.


I certainly hope our grandchildren will live in an environment that
encourages helping each other, yes.

--
\ "We spend the first twelve months of our children's lives |
`\ teaching them to walk and talk and the next twelve years |
_o__) telling them to sit down and shut up." -- Phyllis Diller |
Ben Finney
Nov 22 '05 #99
>The legality of copying, modifying and redistributing works should be
reformed until it matches a 6th grader's intuitions about sharing.


A 6th grader also has intuitions regarding the ownership of an idea.
"It was MY idea!!!" "No, it's NOT!!!" "Is TOO!!!"

The Eternal Squire

Nov 22 '05 #100

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